Monday, 1 October 2012

So what's the point of Venn Diagrams?

As we sat at the table eating freshly baked scones and drinking tea my friend made the sweeping statement that we learn an awful lot of rubbish at school that is of no use when we leave.

“Venn diagrams!” She announced, “When are they ever useful?”

The subject moved on but my brain was stuck pondering this conundrum.

I interrupted the conversation, “I know when you have used a Venn diagram without even realising it.” I’d had my eureka moment and I set about explaining how she had used the principals learnt at school.

That evening I got a text from her.

“Have you done a blog about Venn diagrams yet?!"

Now she may have been joking but this post is especially for my friend – you know who you are! And for anyone else who has ever wondered why we have to learn so much “drivel”!

As in our house there are three people in my friend’s house; mum, oldest son and youngest son.

Draw one circle for each, overlapping them like this.

Each person has their own likes and opinions represented by their own circle,

When it comes to, for example, choosing a holiday destination to ensure everyone is agreeable you have to pick somewhere that pretty much fulfils everyone’s desires, preferable the bit right in the middle where all the circles intersect. Or at least a high percentage of the holiday has to fall within these parameters.

My friend had a great destination planned for their family holiday this year but her boys weren’t at all impressed by her suggestion. So she re-considered and came up with a plan that suited all their tastes. All without the aid of a diagram but she could have drawn one. Maybe next year she will – on second thoughts – I know her too well and she probably won’t.

“Have you just thought of that?” she quizzed.

Well yes, I had but I don’t think that makes me especially clever just a bit nerdy – I always did like maths problems to solve. Next year I will be the mother sitting at the kitchen table drawing circles getting my two boys to choose a holiday.

Maybe learning all about Venn diagrams at school really did have a valid purpose after all, preparing us for that hardest of all family tasks - trying to keep everybody happy!

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